Election Monitor II: National elections outcome growing more unpredictable, but more profound

SOUTH AFRICA - Report 12 Apr 2024 by Iraj Abedian

In its first truly competitive and pluralistic elections since the dawn of democracy in 1994, the SA National Elections predictions are becoming more and more complex, and the outcome more unpredictable, leading to a blend of excitement and anxiety.
Since my last Election Monitor, the Speaker of the National Assembly and the former Minister of Defense, Mrs. Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, was forced to resign under a heavy cloud of corruption charges from the National Prosecuting Agency (NPA). The ANC leadership abstained from supporting her—a sign that perhaps there is some change of policy within the Party when it comes to corrupt comrades.
This was not the only bad news for the ANC. The ANC suffered three successive legal and political blows. First, the Party’s attempt to prevent the MK Party, led by former President Zuma and his gang of “State Capture Comrades” from being able to participate in the elections failed. Second, the ANC's attempt to stop the MK Party from using the name "uMkonto weSizwe Party" or the "MK Party" also failed
The third of these unfavorable legal outcomes was the challenge by the National Electoral Commission that Mr. Zuma could not appear on the election ballets as the face and the leader of the MK Party because he had served two terms as the President of the Republic and the constitution limits any president to two terms only. This case was also thrown out of the Electoral Court.
Clearly, the MK Party has already exerted material impact on the political landscape of the country; it has influenced the language of electioneering and jolted the top three main parties—most obviously the ANC. In the next few weeks, as the country and its major political parties adjust to the new reality with the MK Party as a key “influencer” because of its strategic intent, clear messaging and commitment to win at all cost, much is likely to transpire. Most importantly, socio-political alliances will likely emerge—broadly along the lines of protecting and preserving the existing constitutional democratic order versus those in favor of some or another shade of material change to the constitution. The strategic position taken by the ANC will remain pivotal in this ideological battle for the soul of South Africa going forward.

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